Navigating another drought: Finding strength in connection

Queensland farmer Mark Vayro is facing many difficult decisions brought about by drought. He knows these challenges that are temporary. Things will get better. Until then, he’s focused on navigating through another drought and keeping his family and his family farm going.

A farmer at heart, Mark also works for specialist agricultural insurer Achmea Australia and sees many farmers facing similar challenges.

Mark knows the current reality is difficult, and it will likely get more difficult for a while, but he also knows that a positive mindset and social connection are vital tools to help work through the tough times.

Connection is a remedy for and a protective factor against feeling overwhelmed by stress.

Psychologist Dr. Ben Rockett specialises in trauma recovery and advocates the advantages of fostering social connections during adversity.

By actively supporting your community, you simultaneously nurture your own mental well-being.

Together, Mark and Ben share some insights on how you may identify stress within yourself and others. Because if you can recognise the signs, you may more easily be able to support yourself and others.

Stress within yourself and others might show up as:

  • Irritability or aggression
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Sleep interruption
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Sadness and tears
  • Unusual memory or
    concentration difficulties.

What you can do to support yourself:

  • Be aware of how you’re feeling – check in with yourself.
  • Be active (not just work active) and see if others can join you for regular walks or exercise.
  • Exercise moderation in alcohol consumption.
  • Prioritise your sleep – insufficient sleep will further raise the cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your system.
  • Take time each day to be still and focus on your breathing – just a few slow and deep breaths may be enough to positively influence your focus.
  • Watch your favourite comedy – laughter brings wonderful benefits to your mental and physical health.

What you can do to support others:

  • Be aware of who you haven’t heard from in a while – reach out and connect with them.
  • Prioritise social connection – go see them, call them, get them over for a cuppa.
  • Help someone else in your community – it can lift your focus from your own situation and provide a range of psychological benefits, including a stronger sense of belonging.

By fostering a strong sense of connection through community support and solidarity, farmers, along with their families and communities, can find the strength needed to face the day-to-day challenges and look forward to better times ahead.

About Achmea Australia

Achmea Australia is part of the Achmea Group, which is one of the largest insurance companies in the Netherlands.

The Achmea Group has over 10 million clients worldwide and is fully dedicated to farm insurance in Australia.

Insurance issued by Achmea Schadeverzekeringen N.V. (Achmea) ABN 86 158 237 702 AFSL 433984. The information in this document is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (your personal circumstances). This means any advice may not be appropriate for your circumstances. Before using this information to decide whether to purchase the insurance policy, you will need to consider the appropriateness of any general information or advice we give you and how it relates to your specific situation to ensure the insurance cover meets your needs and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination (TMD) available from the ‘Downloads’ section of our website For feedback and complaints, visit To view Achmea Australia’s privacy statement, visit Achmea Australia does not warrant that the information contained herein is accurate, reliable, complete or up to date, and, to the fullest extent permitted by law, disclaims all liability of Achmea Australia and its Associates for any loss or damage suffered by any person by reason of the use by that person of, or their reliance on, any information contained in this document or any error or defect in on this document, whether arising from the negligence of Achmea Australia or its Associates or otherwise.